Teachers have been caught "cheating" by secretly paying for help to get better exam results for pupils, an investigation has revealed.
The Daily Telegraph discovered teachers attending £230-a-day seminars with chief examiners where they were advised on exam questions and the exact wording children should use to obtain higher marks to improve GCSE and A-level results.
One chief examiner was secretly recorded telling teachers which questions their pupils could expect in the next round of exams.
"We're cheating," the examiner was caught saying. "We're telling you the cycle (of the compulsory question). Probably the regulator will tell us off."
The examiner advised teachers that he was telling them how to "hammer exam technique" rather than the approach of "proper educationalists" to "teach the lot".
According to the newspaper, the advice goes beyond the standard "guidance" and lays exam boards open to accusations that they are undermining exams by encouraging "teaching to the test" and will add fuel to critics who say standards in British schools are being "dumbed down".
Now Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has ordered an official inquiry into the exam system by Ofqual, the exam regulator, which will report back before Christmas.
"Our exams system needs fundamental reform," said Mr Gove. "The revelations confirm that the current system is discredited.
"I have asked Glenys Stacey (the chief executive of Ofqual) to investigate the specific concerns identified by the Telegraph, to examine every aspect of the exam boards' conduct which gives rise to concern and to report back to me within two weeks with her conclusions and recommendations for further action.
"As I have always maintained, it is crucial our exams hold their own with the best in the world. We will take whatever action is necessary to restore faith in our exam system. Nothing is off the table."
Does this surprise you?
What do you think should be done to stop things like this happening in schools?
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